{Photo 256/365}  I love unexpected moments.  Tonight I brought Zane to his football game and his team just happened to be playing Owen’s team, SO my special “sister-friend” of course was there to watch her son play {with their dog Murphy}  Her and I were blessed with time together!  Talking, laughing, catching up and…watching our little guys battle it out.  I needed this blessing today, this out-of-the-blue happening.  ”A true friend is the greatest of all blessings…

Let God Chisel

{Photo 203/365}  Refine.  Mold.  Change.  Rearrange.  This weekend is the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference and tonight I had the opportunity to hear Lysa TerKeurst deliver this powerful message –> Let God Chisel.  Consider these questions:  What if the hard things in our life were actually good for us?  What if they were a tool in the hand of God used to shape us and mold us?  What IF?  I asked myself these questions and my answer is, BRING IT!  Whatever it takes God, use it as a chisel in Your hand to FREE me to become who You created me to be.  It’s not always easy.  In fact, it can be pretty ugly and painful at times — BUT moving through these “chisel” experiences brings joy on the other side.  She blessed us with this little gift, a keychain to serve as a reminder with the words “chiseled” on it.  So thoughtful.  I learned SO much from her talk, but this is just one nugget I wanted to share.  truth.


{Photo 185/365} It all started with the word ‘freedom’ – the word that stuck out to me while I was reading The Uncommon Woman back on May 14, 2009.  Now, 2 years later – July 4 – that’s ALL she wrote…it is DONE!  I wrapped up the last chapter of the book — with tears of JOY streaming down my face — WOW, just WOW! Happy 4th of July – Happy Independence Day – Happy Birthday USA! –> friends.  family.  sunset.  perfect day.  priceless gift. “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” ~Moshe Dayan


{Photo 151/365}  Just a day of firsts: experiences.  questions.  time spent.  We know what they were – it’s a place to start.  ”Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7

Our Year of Thanksgiving

One year ago, on Thanksgiving Day 2009, we started simply by posting a Daily KIP and our first “long” blog posts.  Today, on Thanksgiving Day 2010, we are reflecting on our many blessings.  We have been touched beyond words by the comments, personal notes and thanks from our readers. We really didn’t know what Keeping it Personal would lead to when we started.  Our hope was, if we could impact just one person’s life, it would be worth it. We were faithful, and our ‘followers’ grew.  Our vision, our purpose for Keeping it Personal has been more clearly defined, and we are excited to share with you our direction for the coming year VERY soon.  Most importantly TODAY, we just wanted to take a moment to share with you our “Thanksgiving”…….

Timing; God’s PERFECT timing!

Humility…..realizing we have NO clue and have a lot to learn.

Accountability keeps us grounded and true to our values.

Never say never!  We had no idea what God has in store for us; LOVE what He’s doing…..

Knowledge in itself is empty; what we do with it is POWERFUL!

Smile; it’s the easiest way to change your whole attitude and the cheapest way to bless another person!

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes – sometimes the most significant ones are FREE and cannot be bought.

Invite; don’t underestimate the power of an invitation.  You will not know if you don’t ask!

Voice, we all have ONE – we MUST use it, together we can cultivate change!

Inspired. Excited. Motived. Encouraged……to keep on keepin’ on!!

Notice the little things, pay attention, BE present.  Live in the NOW.

Gratitude IS essential – an everyday attitude of being thankful.

THANK YOU for joining US on our journey as we focus on Keeping it Personal…….

Stories are Gifts, Share

This morning I was having coffee with my husband at Starbucks.  We were sitting outside talking about our day when I noticed the words on the Starbucks door.  They might be on every Starbucks door or window across the world, I don’t know – I hadn’t noticed them before;  Stories are Gifts – Share.

I LOVE watching good movies that share heartfelt stories.  I LOVE reading good books, both fiction and non-fiction, that tell stories.  I enjoy telling stories to my kids and hearing stories about people in my life.  There is nothing better to me than getting to know and understand people better through their stories.

A special friend of mine has an amazing gift of sharing her life and relating to others through analogy stories.  I always look forward to talking with her and listening as she shares her insight and wisdom through great stories.

As we embark upon our 1 year anniversary of our terijohnson.com blog and our Daily KIPs, I’ve been reflecting.  These words, Stories are Gifts – Share, speak to me.  Over the past 12 months, I’ve had the privilege to hear AND read a lot of personal stories.  Many of these have encouraged me.  Many have brought me to tears.  Many have changed me.  Many have inspired me.

It brings me joy to share MY story with the hope to encourage or inspire others…….or simply plant a seed in someone’s life.  Stories ARE a gift and I am grateful that I’ve been on the receiving end while others were willing to share.  Priceless!

Keep On Keeping On

I had the privilege to meet a very special person this past weekend.  A man with a passion who is on a mission to assist and raise awareness for those born with severe physical disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy.

Tim Wambach founder and President of Keep On Keeping On said that his meeting Mike Berkson was not only serendipity, it was “serendestiny.”  Mike was a 12-year old kid living with Cerebral Palsy when he and Tim met.  Mike’s positive outlook, attitude on life, and his sense of humor inspired Tim to take action to make a positive difference in the lives of those in need.

The Keep On Keeping On Organization helps the special needs community in unique ways.  Tim and his team of volunteers believe that anything is possible and they live by a simple motto:  As long as you have a pulse, you must never give up, you must always…Keep On Keeping On!

To further the cause of the Keep On Keeping On Foundation Mike and Tim are taking their message on the road with Handicap This, a live stage show.  The message is about breaking down barriers and living with disabilities.  2 real characters, in 1 real life story…..that changes lives!  Their show will stir your senses, challenge your thinking and wake up your attitude. Check out their trailer…..

Find Handicap This! on Facebook by clicking here.

Tim Wambach IS Keeping it Personal – what an inspiration you are!!  He tells the story of his remarkable friendship with Mike Berkson and how the Keep On Keeping On Foundation formed in his book How We Roll.  You can find his book and learn more about this organization on their website here.

Who Needs to Change?

Do you believe others need to change?  OR do YOU?

For years, I thought everyone else needed to change.  I can remember back in 2002 reading Dr. Phil McGraw’s book, Relationship Rescue.  I needed a relationship rescue in a serious way at the time so the book came in handy.  That was the first time it sunk in for me that I NEEDED to change.  Blaming someone else wasn’t the answer and I was not a victim.

I was still in my 20’s, very late 20’s, just had my second child and thought ok, let me work on this.  I CHANGE.  I read that I needed to change my reaction to get a different response.  SO, that I did!  It WORKED!  The relationship I was focused on changing, was changing because I was changing, it was good!!

BUT, it was short lived and it didn’t last long.  Eventually I went back to my old behaviors and experienced the same old responses to my same old reactions.  BUMMER!!

I STILL believe the LAW OF CHANGE:

Nobody can change YOU (why? Because your brain ONLY listens to YOU)

YOU canNOT change others (why? Because they only listen to themselves)

YOU can ONLY change yourself (why?  Because YOU only listen to YOU)

As YOU change, those around you change as a reaction to all of the changes in YOU!

THAT is where I am today, in my late 30’s – it took me just shy of 10 years to get this change thing down AND I’m STILL working on it!  The difference today, than where I was when it first hit me, is I AM INTENTIONAL about MY CHANGE.

I’m focused on where I want to BE.   Where I’m headed.  The Goal.  I’ve experienced growth in MANY areas of my life discovering what I want. need. think. feel.  FINALLY!!  The only way to get to the goal is for me to CHANGE.  The “drive-thru” mentality that many people have, even me at times, doesn’t work with change.  It’s a process, it takes time and to sustain the changes, I need to be intentional about it by equipping myself.

Some people FEAR change and believe that it is bad, not me, I’m all about change!  Bring it on.  Where are you at with change?  Is it something you fear?  Something you think others need to do?  OR Is it for you?  If so, how will you sustain it?  How can you be intentional to get to where you’re going?

It was not MY plan

EXHAUSTED is the only word that comes to mind to describe how I feel right now.  I am decompressing on my flight back to Minneapolis from Charleston, SC where I spent the past 2 days working on THE BOOK.  YES, the book.  I haven’t shared much about the book with many people, but decided that this might be a good time.

Over the past couple of weeks, as I’ve logged onto our terijohnson.com site to post our Daily KIPs I’ve noticed I haven’t written a “longer” blog post since 9/11.  I’m happy to say that I have NOT run out of thoughts and ideas of what I would like to write about and share here, believe me, I’m keeping track of those ideas on my BLOG “to-do” list, BUT I’ve been focusing so much of my time on the book, gathering my thoughts surrounding that –I’ve just run out of time.

Right now, I could sleep on this fight OR I could share what’s on my heart.  Since I don’t do well sleeping on airplanes, ESPECIALLY when I’ve got something I need to get out………..I’ve decided to write.

One year ago He started preparing me for His plan, once I was willing to let Him.  I had realized that the plans that I was coming up with, WELL?  They were not turning out too hot, so I needed some help.  As I continued on my journey to discover who I was, who God created me to be I realized something……..I had gotten to a point in my life where I NEVER thought I would be, that’s a capital N E V E R!  And really, the things that I had been working through, such as shame, guilt, anger, resentments, insecurities, judgements, and perfectionism.  (to name a few, there might be more, UGH!!) were things that stemmed from doing things that I NEVER wanted to do.

I shared this insight with a few people and found that I was not alone, that’s comforting……in a nice way, right?  When I described my journey as overcoming nevers, others could relate.  That’s when the book idea came into my head.  IDEA, it was an IDEA – THAT’s it!!  Nothing more……..so I thought.

Just like anything in life, including our thoughts, what we feed GROWS!  The seed was planted.  I continued to talk about it, others encouraged me to do it, and before I knew it, the idea grew.  I had enough written about this idea to bring it to someone who could help me, with confidence.  I submitted a brief synopsis of my book, decided on who I wanted to work with and after a series of phones interviews, I had in front of me a detailed outline with the title chapters of the book.  OH MY…….here I GO!!

The book is developing.  I’m desperately praying for guidance as I work through the outline, expanding on every idea, elaborating each thought, sharing my personal stories, and explaining my tools.  The tools that I’ve committed to working with to grow, the tools that I’m picking up daily to improve my life, my relationships.  The tools I’ve embraced that are helping me become who God created me to be.

Now I’m ready?!?!  OR at least the calendar reminded me it was time to be ready.  I had an appointment to literally talk the book.  That’s what landed me in Charleston, I was nervous.  I believe I was prepared, but for what?  I had no clue what to expect.  PLUS, this wasn’t MY plan anyway, I wasn’t sure EXACTLY what to say – what IS the message God wants me to share in the book anyway?  Am I equipped?  How had I gotten to this point so quickly?  How was this simple idea turning into a reality so fast?  Lots of questions raced through my mind.

Before I knew it, it was finished – the process of me talking, talking, talking.  That step was complete, it wasn’t so bad!  Next, I was off to a photo shoot, filming the trailer for the book, discussing cover design, and NOW, wait…….wait for the manuscript to come back. Then I will do what’s next.  If we stay on schedule with the editing and production process the book will be out mid-february 2011.  SERIOUSLY!

While I wait?  I will take the advice of my friend, Andrea, just shine the lamp unto my feet and He will light my path.  I don’t know what’s next in His plan for me, besides the book. But what I’m learning is I need to continue practicing my patience skills, step out in obedience, and have faith.

Why THE BOOK?  Because we haven’t finalized the title.  Why not MY book?  Because I’m not there yet……because this is something that I NEVER had the desire to do.  So, I guess you could say that when it’s complete I will have accomplished a NEVER – a GOOD NEVER, one that I will be proud of.  One that I will want to share.  One that I hope to use to help others.  That’s when it will become MY book.

It REALLY was not MY plan; to write a book.  I’m not capable of developing such a plan.  But, here I sit with a smile on my face and joy in my heart thinking about how I’m liking this plan which I truly believe to be His plan; God’s Plan for me.

Remembering 9/11

I will never forget; the pictures are very clear in my mind of where I was, what I felt, and the thoughts I had that horrific day.  Today I am praying for those here whose lives were so closely impacted. Today I am remembering.

The victims.  The heros. The families and friends who lost their loved ones.  The children.  The way our country was before this tragic event.

Today I also remember this video that touched my heart when I first saw it.  He was there, He will never forget that day either…….